Sunday , Feb , 01 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Houston Rockets Team Report – February 1

=== Houston Rockets Team Report – February 1 ===

(Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets fell to the New Jersey Nets, 88-77,
on Saturday at the Toyota Center.

Steve Francis led the Rockets with 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the
field, as the Rockets dropped their third straight contest. Jim Jackson and
Cuttino Mobley added 15 and 13 points, respectively.

Jason Kidd had six points in the first three minutes of the third quarter,
as the Nets scored the first eight to get within one at 46-45. Yao
Ming, who struggled by making only 2-of-9 shots in the game, converted one of
those with a layup at the other end of the court, but Kenyon Martin threw down
consecutive dunks to give New Jersey its first lead of the game at 49-48
with 6:50 left in the quarter.

Francis hit a running jumper to put the Rockets back up at 53-51, but the Nets
responded with an 11-3 run, including five points from Martin, to take a 62-56
edge with 2:19 left. New Jersey took a 66-60 lead into the fourth quarter.

New Jersey went up 68-60 just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter, but Francis
and Jackson combined to score the next 11 points for Houston, as the Rockets
went up 71-68 with 7:40 left.

Kerry Kittles and Richard Jefferson made a pair of free throws and Martin
threw down an alley-oop slam on the Nets’ following three possessions to
put them up 74-71. New Jersey would not trail the rest of the game.

Martin’s foul line jumper with a minute left put New Jersey up by 11 at 86-75.
The Rockets threw up several desperate three-point attempts in the final 50
seconds, but all drew air.

The Rockets are off until Monday when they visit the Phoenix Suns.